Monday, March 31, 2008

That Which Should be, But Is Not

There has been a pretty effective counterattack by Senator Clinton's campaign against the recent wave of punditry who were calling on her to quit the campaign.

Senator Obama took the high road here and affirmed Clinton's "right" to keep campaigning lest he appear to have un-democratic ideals. Of course his immediate surrogates must also follow the official line, so it has become widely accepted orthodoxy in the last couple of days that Clinton should not withdraw from the race.

The Workday Liberal is little read and I have no ties whatsoever to the Obama campaign so let me spit the wrong way into the wind and affirm the seemingly defunct notion that Senator Clinton should indeed withdraw from the Democratic nomination. The following are truisms from my perspective. These are the veritable things which the Clinton camp claim should be, but which actually are not. The logic which is posited by those who favor her continuation in the race sounds good in soundbites, but the least bit of prodding shows those arguments to be entirely empty of substance.

Before I continue, let me establish a basic premise which I am more than willing to defend if pushed to do so. The odds favoring Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States are overwhelming. The odds that Hillary Clinton can be the nominee are prohibitive. We're talking 95%-05% odds here and that number tilts more in Obama's favor with each passing day. Having established this premise let me take an honest look at the arguments posited by those who favor Clinton remaining in the race.

The most common argument for Hillary to soldier on is invariably an appeal for allowing all of the people to be heard. "Why not let the final few states have their say in the process and then settle the outcome?" ask the Clinton dead enders. Today we heard that over 40 million people have not voted, and Obama wants to end the voting. My reply: It is a very rare circumstance when the nomination process allows for all of the states to have a say in who wins. Understandably, this is the process the parties prefer because allowing the nomination to drag on and on tends to cause division and strife in the party. Typically the evident nominee is allowed to sweep through the majority of the primaries uncontested, despite the fact that the given nominee has not garnered the number of delegates needed to win the nomination outright when the other candidates leave the race. The later states may not appreciate having little or no say in the nomination (see Fl. & Mi.), but it has been a given for decades that the nomination would be settled prior to the final votes being cast.

I look at this plea for allowing all of the votes to count as a stall tactic by the Clinton campaign. If it is true that Obama will be the nominee unless some earth shattering event happens I wonder why the sudden concern for all the states to vote in order to decide what, for all intents and purposes, we already know.

The next most common argument follows the logic that if Hillary can win Pa. by a landslide, and sweep the majority of the coming races, and we allow for Fl. and Mi. to count, that she would win the popular vote and be able to make an appeal to the super delegates to not overturn the will of the people. To which I respond that if a UFO traveled across the universe and panned for gold in just the right spot, and then bagged up the results and left the bag on my porch, that I would wind up being independently wealthy. Both scenarios are theoretically possible I suppose (and I'm even willing to stipulate here that Clinton's scenario has a slightly better chance) but neither is going to happen. The only state which Clinton has won the popular vote by margins she would need is Arkansas. She would have to have Arkansas type landslides in multiple states to win the popular vote and she simply has not shown the ability to pull that off. Further, Clinton trails Obama by ten points in the latest polls nationwide, which makes future landslides even more unlikely.

The oldest arguments from the Clinton side have them appealing to superdelegates to overturn the delegate and popular vote to give the nomination to someone who can defeat McCain in November. We are told that this is the exact reason that superdelegates were given their status in the process... to stop the next McGovern. To which I say that Obama is no McGovern, and the only way he will become one is if he is hobbled by repeated attacks from both the left and the right for the next several months. Indeed, hobbling Obama may well be the entire purpose of the Clinton campaign at this point. Just to be fair, though, let me note that I have sensed a certain pullback recently from the most negative and personal attacks. I believe this is because Senator Clinton's negatives really shot up while Senator Obama remained on course with his numbers during the recent nastiness.

Really, what it comes down to is that the Clintons must know the damage they would do to themselves and the party if they do what they must to make the "Obama is McGovern" line actually work with the superdelegates. Besides, if Hillary is really more electable than Obama she sure has a weird way of showing it by losing election after election during the nomination process.

Which brings me to several lines from the Clinton camp which are really too laughable to even give the opposing viewpoint on. Clinton is winning big states which means Obama would lose them to McCain? The Electoral College map somehow relates to the primary? You can trust Clinton to answer the phone at 3 am? It's like they are trying to play Jedi mind tricks on us gullible citizens. Unfortunately for them those mind tricks only work when employed by Jedi Knights... anyone else trying to use them just winds up looking silly.

So yes... for the good of the Democratic party and the nation, in the best interests of defeating John McCain this November, Hillary Clinton should step aside and support our nominee. If you are not convinced by that summation, maybe that's because I am not a Jedi Knight...

Timmeh Lets Hayden Off The Hook

The following exchange on yesterdays Meet The Press made me yell at the T.V. when I watched it.
MR. RUSSERT: This is an article, Friday's paper: "[Iraqi] Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ... decided to launch the offensive without consulting his U.S. allies, according to administration officials. With little U.S. presence in the south, and British forces in Basra confined to an air base outside the city, one administration official said that, `we can't quite decipher' what is going on. It's a question, he said, of `who's got the best conspiracy' theory about why Maliki decided to act now." The United States was not informed by the Iraqis that we--he was going to do this?

GEN. HAYDEN: I, I don't know what on--what went on on the ground in Baghdad prior to the operation. I do know that this was a decision of the Iraqi government by the prime minister and personally by the prime minister, and that he's relying on Iraqi forces, by and large, to take this action.

MR. RUSSERT: Were you aware of it?

GEN. HAYDEN: I was--in terms of being prebriefed or, or having, you know, the, the normal planning process in which you build up to this days or weeks ahead of time, no. No, I was not.

MR. RUSSERT: You didn't know it was going to happen?

GEN. HAYDEN: No more so than Dave Petraeus or Ambassador Crocker did.
This exchange was a huge dodge by CIA Director Michael Hayden. In fact a close reading of his answer makes it appear that the CIA did not plan the operation which touched off all the fighting, but was very much informed what was coming up. As were Dave Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, apparently.

Tim Russert is supposed to be some sort of tough bull dog type interviewer, but in this case his quick pivot from the Hayden dodge to other matters was frustrating. When the CIA director ends the response with "No more so than Dave Petraeus or Ambassador Crocker did", any self respecting interviewer should absolutely probe as to what Petraeus and Crocker knew in that case. It was an obvious followup which left the audience hanging, and me yelling "so what did they know?!" at the screen, when Russert moved on.

As to the question which Hayden dodged (when did the Iraqi's inform the Americans they were moving into Basra?) I don't pretend to be an expert in such affairs, but it hardly seems surprising that the director of the CIA would not be involved in actually planning an Iraqi military operation. That would be the purview of military planners, like Dave Petraeus. In fact I would hardly expect the head of the CIA to personally give a briefing on the situation in Basra relating to such an operation, even if CIA intelligence did play a role.

If there is one word I would use to define the Hayden dodge that word would be truthy. Truthy answers are technically correct, but intrinsically misleading. No one can accuse Hayden of actually lying, but his answers are hardly responsive to the question at hand. Russert really should not have allowed the topic to drift after such an obvious dodge.

There must be a reason for the truthy answer given by Hayden, and I think Congress has a chance to get to the bottom of the matter by asking the pertinent questions to one of the people which Hayden mentioned. General Petraeus visits Congress later this week to give his regular report on the progress of the surge. I do hope Congress sees fit to ask him the questions which Russert would not ask Hayden. The last time Petraeus made the Congressional rounds he brought Ambassador Crocker with him. So if Crocker is going to tag along maybe Congress could get his take on this as well.

The question I have is this: What would be wrong with the Americans being forewarned of a move into Basra. In fact I would rather expect such a high stakes military operation to be expressly signed off on by the ruling military power of Iraq. We can't have thousands of troops and all that equipment moving about the countryside without America knowing about it or someone might get injured, or even killed by mistake. *snark*

So there must be a reason why the administration is out there acting like they were completely caught off guard by the Basra operation. I can think of two reasons. Or to be more precise, I see two extremes of the same reason.

1st is the benign outlook that the operation truly was a wholly Iraqi endeavor and the administration does not want to leave the slightest impression that Americans were involved in operational planning. Under this kinder and gentler explanation, we would have been given the details solely for the purpose of not having Americans bomb and strafe and otherwise molest the Iraqi convoys as they moved to Basra.

The other option has a more conspiratorial outlook, which is fitting when we consider that the administration itself has invited conspiracy theorists to speculate on why Maliki chose to move now. Americans, for obvious reasons, did not want to leave the impression that they were actually the instigators behind this operation. They intended to show the world that the Iraqi government was starting to gain the ability to handle itself. Under this theory the Bush administration would have pushed Maliki to make his move at a politically strategic time: immediately prior to the next report on the surge to Congress by Petraeus and leading in to the general election, providing fodder to McCain in claiming that Iraq was showing progress. If this outlook is true, we have witnessed a mirror image of the Bush administration instigated Israeli/Hezbollah debacle: Washington pushed Maliki to plan it himself and then carry it out, and the results were hardly what we were hoping for.

It may well be the case that the truth lies in the middle of the extremes. Maybe we would have claimed foreknowledge for informational purposes alone, but then everything went sour with the operation. The administration would want to completely forswear anything which would unfairly implicate them in yet another military adventure gone wrong, ala the American instigated Israeli invasion of Lebanon to root out Hezbollah which went so horribly awry.

For what it's worth, I tend to side with the more conspiratorial outlook.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dem's Fighting Words

I've just read a column on Alternet by John Dolan which I think is spot on. Dolan writes that liberals need to stop policing the language we use when engaging the other side and start getting confrontational, in order to gain support from the constituencies which Dolan thinks we need to start flaming.

This may seem counter intuitive, but Dolan's explanation makes sense when given due consideration. By way of example, Dolan singles out the 2004 race which he believes was the perfect example in which a Democrat could have gained real traction by responding with fighting words, rather than trying to rise above the fray. John Kerry is a decorated war hero, and he was running against George Bush, who was an awol party kid even as Kerry was serving with distinction and honor. Yet it was Kerry who found himself trying to remain dignified even as he was slimed by the same old set of GOP bullies who crawl out from under their rocks every election cycle. Here is the narrative which should have consumed the news when Kerry was initially swiftboated as related by Dolan:
Would he defend himself when called out by the gang of disgusting bullies Bush had gathered around himself? It would have been so simple, so glorious, if he'd just turned on his accusers and reacted like a human being: "You're questioning my record on behalf of a skunk like Bush who spent the war with the Alabama National Guard, and then went AWOL from the Guard?"

Millions of American voters were waiting, hoping Kerry would react like any sane person would have. He never did. I don't know why not; I assume he was in the hands of some Clinton gurus who babbled about "rising above the fray." Well, that sure worked well.
But the call for lefties to start getting confrontational goes beyond just defending ourselves when attacked by the GOP mudslingers. Dolan writes, and I agree, that we need to start going on the offense with blunt language which will probably offend various groups at some point. Liberals need to stop worrying about sanitizing our approach in such a way as to not offend this group or that cause, because it is the milktoast approach of Kerry, Dukakis, and Carter which gave liberalism a bad name. This explains how the conservatives won election after election even though they held positions which the majority of the electorate do not agree with. That held true until 2006 when Allen of Virginia, Tester of Montana and a whole slough of Democratic candidates stood up, fought back and were swept into power. Bush ran around the country using the same old canards that if Democrats won the terrorists won, and we responded with derision rather than meekly letting him say it because we did not want to offend.

The white men which fled the party in droves during the Reagan years know full well that they are voting against their own interests. They just want us liberals to stop being such pantywaists when we tell them whats up. They want to fight for the cause they believe in, and if we give them the impression that fighting for that cause is verboten then they'll go where they are welcome.

Besides, as Dolan notes, the history of actual violence in the cause of American liberalism is a glorious one. Liberal movements and armies fighting for the cause of liberalism have killed British Redcoats, Confederates and Nazis by the hundreds of thousands, and we as a nation take pride in this. Which is not to say that we lefties should start a fist fight with the next Republican we come across. We should recognize that Americans honor a liberal heritage of confrontation against many of the same interests we are afraid to even honestly debate today. Modern liberals must find a way to rid ourselves of the reputation for being milktoast fuddy duddys who are afraid of saying this or that because someone listening might take offense.

Anyone who has read my rantings for any amount of time knows full well that I would whole heartedly agree with Dolan on this. I've never shied away from letting the other side know in no uncertain terms exactly where I'm coming from and what makes them so freaking wrong headed. The only stricture which I place upon myself in these rants is that I will not use gratuitous profanity. This is simply because of the way I was raised and the people I am surrounded by who have occasion to read this blog every so often. But that doesn't stop me from applying plenty of strong terms for the other side, like koolaid drinking dunderheaded administration toady... well you get the point I'm sure. So I would encourage anyone reading this blog who knows what is up with the state of American politics, but can not bring themselves to side with the effete left to switch parties, and do your part to give the verbiage used by the left a bit more of an edge. Take my word for it: There are plenty of opportunities to take shots at the right, and it can be quite a bit of fun actually.

All this might be moot in very short order anyway. If Barack Obama manages to change the political landscape we may move beyond the need to rip the other side a new one every so often. But I just know that the general election is going to see more than a few unfair and scummy eruptions directed from the right at Obama, so I'll be doing my small part to give it right back at them as we progress.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Of Crisis Management And Strange Bedfellows

There has been a fundamental change in the last day or two in the campaign. Even though the Clinton campaign publicly proclaims a determination to take this to the convention it is becoming more evident every minute how this is going to wind up. It feels like the flow of events on the campaign trail is making what follows somewhat perfunctory. I've sensed a bit of a pull back by the Clinton campaign from the brink of the cliff over which they, for a time, seemed to be intent on driving the Democratic party.

Senator Obama has weathered a real storm over the last couple of weeks. It began when the media decided that they had not been aggressive enough following the Clinton campaign playing up a skit on Saturday Night Live. So the media started glomming onto any little thing they could catch which cast Obama in a less than favorable light. THEN Jeremiah Wright re-exploded on the Obama campaign. The entire narrative for a week focused on Obama's America-hating angry black preacher problem. The Clinton campaign ratcheted up the pressure on a daily basis harping on Michigan, Florida and electability (although they did not play up the Wright affair as heavily as the Republicans will). Out of all this Obama has emerged relatively unscathed, demonstrating a real ability to fend off repeated bad cycles and not lose ground.

At the same time Senator Clinton stumbled badly into the Bosnian affair. Senator Clinton placed herself in a bad situation and never recovered. Her reply to the controversy has further damaged her in my opinion by adding another layer of prevarication on top of the original. Further, Clinton seemed to disqualify herself from taking emergency phone calls if she is sleep deprived.

This was a head to head petri dish experiment in crisis management by the two candidates, and Obama won with flying colors. Senator Obama gave a response which is widely acclaimed as one of the most important statements in modern history on the issue of race to answer his crisis, but Senator Clinton only dug her hole deeper.

As we wrap things up on this race it is telling that Senator Clinton has taken up with some tried and true card carrying members of the vast right wing conspiracy. We hyper-political lefties took notice when she gave an interview to the National Review Online, sitting elbow to elbow with Richard Melon Scaife. Scaife is one of the worst, having financed much of the movement in the 90's devoted to proving the various anti-Clinton slanders like how Vince Foster was murdered at the First Lady's behest and the President was running drugs with a trail of bodies left in their wake etc. etc. etc... It was this NRO/Scaife interview which was the platform by which Senator Clinton just answered the question as to whether or not she would attend services led by Jeremiah Wright.

Clinton followed up that appearance by going to Fox News and declaring that she was taking the Michigan and Florida cause to the convention and daring the Democratic party to follow the rules she previously agreed to.

A change is in the air, so I really don't want to make this another slam Hillary every chance I get post. Let me just give my opinion as to what is really going on with the right wing's newfound willingness to extend Senator Clinton aid and comfort during this hour of need.

The VRWC is obviously using the Clinton campaign to cause dissension in the ranks of the Democratic party. In fact many of them are quite open about it. Witness Limbaugh with his operation chaos scheme, calling on his listeners to vote for Hillary to win the nomination while never intending to vote for her in the fall. They want to split the Democratic party and damage our putative nominee, using the Clintons to do it. It must really give them some sort of perverse joy to think that the family who drove them positively batty for so many years now offers to serve as an unwitting tool for use against the Democratic party.

But I have no doubt that once the dust has settled that the deranged right will exult in the fall of Senator Clinton. They will be hateful, venomous, unfair and uncouth once more when the Clintons are the topic of conversation. Politics may make strange bedfellows, but if Senator Clinton thinks that these bedfellows are going to keep being all supportive after her use for them is over then she is in store for a very nasty surprise.

Really though, she must know the truth about these characters... and in my opinion this is a measure of the true state of affairs in the Democratic nomination. Senator Clinton is willing to use the talking points and mouthpieces of her long long time enemies to attack Senator Obama because that is all she has going for her right now. I almost pity her at this point.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Right Wing Iraq Delusion Exposed In Real Time

You've really got to hand it to the stateside war cheerleaders. They have set all new standards for being absolutely bull headed in the face of incontrovertible evidence that they are just wrong. It has reached absurd levels now with President Bush concluding that the upheaval in Iraq demonstrates the rule of law and political stability at the grass roots level.

Glenn Greenwald (who is simply a blog superstar who can not be missed on a daily basis) destroys noted war pusher Fred Kagan for proclaiming on Monday that the civil war in Iraq was over. Fred actually had the temerity to say that people who did not see his truth would have a very hard time discussing Iraq "on the basis of reality". Hopefully you did not read that immediately after drinking a beverage, or you are probably having to clean off the monitor and keyboard following an enormous spit take.

Why anyone is taking these people seriously at this stage of the game baffles me. Why would a respected television program want to interview Kagan about Iraq after five solid years of uninterrupted and demonstrable stupidity.

John McCain parroted the pro-occupation talking points in the foreign policy speech he delivered just yesterday. Two full days into the latest upheaval in Iraq, he wound down his major foreign policy speech with a litany of security gains and political achievements which, McCain contends, never would have been realized without the troop surge. Even after it was readily apparent that a seismic upheaval was engulfing Iraq McCain could not adjust his talking points laden speech in order to account for reality on the ground. For war cheerleaders the surge of troops into Baghdad is used to explain events around the entire nation of Iraq. The truth is that most of what we were benefiting from was the result of bribery and short term political gamesmanship which was very tenuous and may cause real harm to our interests in the long run by funding, arming and training our avowed enemies.

The McCain speech simply continues a long and rich tradition of war cheerleaders being completely and demonstrably wrong about Iraq. Senator McCain is one of the brightest stars in the universe of wrong headed Iraqi policy wonks. McCain is the founding member of the school of war proponents who seek to demonstrate separation from the ongoing Bush disaster, not by being against the entire endeavor from the beginning, but by contending Bush wasn't ham handed enough from the start. They believe America should have thrown more troops into the quagmire which, if anything, is even more detached from reality than the Bush administration and their steady enablers have been from the beginning.

Meanwhile, if the report from the TimesOnline is true, not only are the war cheerleaders completely off base with the rosy outlooks, but we are witnessing a real threat to our puppet government. According to that report the Iraqi army is stalled and dealing with mass defections in Basra, the anti-Maliki Shiites are taking over neighborhoods in Baghdad and we are on the verge of a real meltdown. The Iraqi spokesperson for "the Baghdad security operation" was kidnapped and three of his bodyguards killed, which just about says it all from my perspective.

So this is peace, stability, and grass roots political achievement from the perspective of the right wing loons. I'm certain we'll all tune in tomorrow for the next talking points laden rose colored happy talk tall tale from the usual set of war cheerleaders... At some point maybe the nation will stop tuning in to those right wing fools, and then we can start taking the first steps towards ending this disaster. Or we can elect John McCain for at least another four years of the same old same old.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On Gaffes And Misspeaking

The recent firestorm over Senator Clinton's description of her Bosnia trip lead her to explain that she had misspoken. When Senator McCain incorrectly associated Iran with Al Qaeda in Iraq the national media were quick to term it as a gaffe. The media covering the McCain campaign were even disposed to term the mistake a gaffe after the McCain campaign reiterated their belief in the tie between Al Qaeda and Iran the day after McCain was called on his mistake in front of the cameras by Senator Lieberman.

The two statements which caused the Clinton and McCain campaigns such embarrassment are very similar. Both claims are demonstrably wrong, but both candidates did not make the mistaken claim one time with immediate correction. The claims were made over the course of several appearances. How can it be that a talking point used multiple times is shrugged off as a misstatement or a gaffe?

If we are honest with each other, these statements are proof that the candidate which uses them is forwarding a known lie in order to further their own political ends. I contend that knowingly promulgating a falsehood is not misspeaking or a gaffe. It is an attempt to deceive the American people and it would be refreshing if the electorate were considered adult enough to be able to hear this unvarnished truth. Hillary lied about her Bosnia trip. And John lied about Iran backing Al Qaeda in Iraq.

There was motivation behind each of these lies. The war in Iraq has a long and rich history of the people who supported the invasion and support a continued occupation using deceit to further their ends. John McCain is surrounded by people who think it would be in our best interests to strike Iran... his spiritual advisor goes so far as to believe that doing so will bring on Armageddon which would be a grand thing from his perspective. If past experience is an indicator for those who care about such things, Senator McCain has just sent an unmistakable signal that he is willing to twist the facts and distort reality in such a way as to give the worst impression of Iran possible. He is signalling his embrace of Bushism and all of the deadly, bellicose and deceitful mannerisms which Bush has come to define. I suppose the major possible difference between McCain and Bush would come down to a question of competence at this point.

Senator Clinton's deceit was based upon the fact that she has founded her campaign upon her experience. The Bosnia lie was a classic case of resume embellishment but for the fact that it was also very stupid in concept. Usually an embellishment on a resume can not be disproved by simply going to the video archives of any of the major news networks. The fact that Senator Clinton thought she could add such vivid embellishment in this case demonstrates a contempt for the electorate. It's like she was expecting to simply have her story accepted at face value and her word is so trusted that no one would even bother to check the archives. I think it demonstrates incompetence. She thought she could get away with something which really blew up in her face and anyone who thought about it for more than ten seconds could have seen the outcome. The Bosnia embellishment may not disqualify her from the office, but it does remind me... again... of the current president because of the audacious creation of an alternate reality, incompetence, and dishonesty.

But it is time for the media to start treating us like adults when it comes to long used "gaffes" and a candidate repeatedly "misspeaking". Just be honest and call it what it is: a lie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sleep Deprived And Misspoke

Senator Clinton tried to explain her Bosnian landing tall tale away by saying "I was sleep deprived and misspoke".

Is that really the person you want answering the red phone at 3am in the morning? Just imagine the smoking rubble which might result from her babbling away after being confronted with a crisis decision on only an hour or two of sleep...

Kitchen sink... meet trampoline.

Clinton's Conceit Is A Self Fullfilling Prophecy

As the Clinton campaign swirls the drain to their inevitable doom we see them desperately throwing out a myriad of arguments and excuses. One of the most prominent talking points lately has been to dwell upon the experience and electability of Senator McCain while making the argument that only Clinton can win against him in November. We've seen variations on this theme since immediately prior to Ohio and Texas and the much noted Clinton assertion that both she and McCain passed the commander in chief threshold, but Obama?... Not so much. The latest permutation on this talking point came from Bill Clinton yesterday when he said:
"She can win this race, and we have got to win. And she will win in Florida. And I must say that this new strategy of denying and disempowering and disenfranchising the voters in Florida and Michigan is I believe a terrible mistake."
In effect Clinton is saying that if the Democratic party follows the rules that we will lose the general election. We must bend and distort the rules in order to favor the Clintons in order to have any hope of defeating McCain. This position is nearly the definition of amorality: being indifferent to right or wrong, being for or against this or that action solely dependent upon whether it benefits Senator Clinton or not. But what else would we expect from Bill... and now it seems to have permeated the entire Clinton campaign. These statements on the Michigan & Florida debacles are just embarrassing when paired with the quotes and the signed affirmations by Hillary last fall that the votes in these states were meaningless. Bill continues to construct the logical fallacy that ONLY Hillary can defeat McCain in November by saying:
“Sen. McCain is not going to be easy to beat; he has always run well in Michigan. He will run pretty well in Florida. She can win. Look, if we win these four states we will win the White House; there is no point in doing this if we are not going to win."
It seems to me that the talking point that only Hillary can defeat McCain is the height of conceit by the Clinton campaign. It's not like Hillary is a fantastic campaigner with no baggage and all the answers who will sweep the electoral college map in November. There MUST be a reason that the Republican machine is pulling for Hillary to be coronated the nominee, and I don't think it's because they are all going to cheerlead her to victory in the general election. It's because Obama is imminently electable, does inspire, was right about Iraq, and offers hope. McCain and the rest of the Republican establishment know who is most likely to defeat them in November and they are not out there trying to take down Clinton in case you haven't noticed.

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report tries his best to put a positive interpretation on the logic which seems to drive the Clinton campaign by writing:
[A]t Clinton HQ right now, a team of advisers are likely thinking, “If Obama’s the nominee, Democrats lose. We may be the only ones who realize it, and we may only have a 10% shot, but we need to keep fighting, keep tearing Obama down, and keep this damaging process going in order to save the party and protect the party’s interests.”
It seems to me that this is a self fulfilling prophecy. The Clinton campaign says that only they are electable in the fall campaign and in order to be proven right they are savaging the evident Democratic nominee, doing their absolute best to make Senator Obama unelectable, just like they say he is. Hillary will look on the smoldering ruins of the Obama campaign the day after the general election and exult at the final vindication of her attempt to save the Democratic party from itself. She will destroy her party in order to save it... if she can't lead the Democratic party to victory then she will see to it that no one will.

The Clintons are doing real and lasting damage to their legacy in the party which once held them in very high esteem. The attempted destruction of Obama and the damage being wrought on the evident Democratic nominee by the Clinton machine will not soon be forgotten by many many party loyalists, like myself, who were once die hard and longstanding Clinton supporters. The sooner she ends this self destructive campaign the faster we can put this all behind us. Yet it is evident that Senator Clinton has no intention whatsoever of ending this train wreck, even going so far as to dwell upon the Reverend Wright controversy in various appearances today.

Of course she would go there. At this point, what else can we expect?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Real Outcome That Merits 4,000 Dead

I am more than just a little hot and bothered right now, and I warn the reader that what I'm about to pop off with would likely be prosecutable treason at certain times in this nations history. (Look up the Alien and Sedition acts for a starter.)

What has me in such a dither? This quote by President Bush:
"I have vowed in the past, and I will vow so long as I'm president, to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain _ that, in fact, there is an outcome that will merit the sacrifice,"
The president comes very close to pinpointing the precise logic which has lead to the deaths of 4000 young Americans, along with tens of thousands wounded and a gaping hole in the budget. When Bush states that this goes on "so long as I'm president" he begins to shine a light on the dark and cruel reality which guides him, and has guided him, in the closing years of his presidency.

Long after military victory was long since an impossibility, the sole purpose for this president in carrying on a bloody occupation was to simply pass the mess to the next president. To make the next president be the one who faces the inexorable drift set in motion by the demands of the people to be rid of this wasteful bloody endeavor. That is the goal which makes the deaths of thousands worth it for this horrible president. His freaking legacy. Shame!

This is the presidents true legacy: torture, lawlessness, the unprecedented loss of American prestige on the world stage, 9/11, the international metastasis of the enemy which struck us on 9/11, the loss of a great American city to a hurricane, trillions of dollars of debt for future generations to pay, and our military quagmired in the occupation of an Arab land, and now petulantly refusing to end his military adventure... insuring that the next president would have to clean up the mess causing yet more needless death for our military and innocent Iraqis by the thousands.

Frankly at this point, I do not trust the president to oversee a withdrawal if he were to come to his senses and decide to end this disaster on his own watch. All through his adult life he has proven singularly inept at managing large scale affairs. If the president were ever made to actually withdraw he would be brought to that point kicking and screaming and with all the petulance we have grown to find so freaking irritating. I shudder at the thought of the President botching the endeavor and the horrible train wreck which he may take our military, or more likely, the Iraqi people into.

Given my druthers the military would hunker down in their remote bases and play defense until an adult is given the presidency, and then let us withdraw in a sensible manner.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eugene Oregon Welcomes The Next President Of The United States, Senator Obama

Senator Barack Obama is going to be giving a speech tonight at Mac Court in my hometown of Eugene.

Unfortunately I won't be able to attend because I work late hours... and by the time I can get to the scene it will be a freaking mad house.

On the bright side, the next time Senator Obama comes to town there is a very good chance that I won't have any scheduling conflict because my job as a customer service agent has been outsourced to Panama and the Phillipines. I can't say who I work for until we have parted ways, but suffice to say that it is a company which has been known for the better part of a century as all American. Our center found out a couple of weeks ago that our final day would be April 30. Starting that day our customers will have a one in three chance of reaching an office in the United States when they call customer service.

To be honest with you, I am being given a nice severence and the job was hardly the top of the food chain when it comes to careers. But the next time you call customer service and reach a call center overseas, think of me standing in line to see an Obama event... because the powers that be have outsourced my job!

A Poem Of Peace, And A Tall Tale

The Washington Post's Fact Checker is getting added to my favorites. Today their reporter Michael Dobbs has the pictures, a link to the video, and various other facts which utterly disprove a recent tall tale by Senator Clinton about her trip to Bosnia.

Here is Senator Clinton's recollection of the visit as related in a speech less than one week ago:
"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
Unfortunately for Senator Clinton technology has advanced to the point that mankind can take pictures and, believe it or not, if you take a several pictures in a row and then look at them with a device which plays those pictures in rapid sequence, you get what is known today as... video. So there are pictures and video of the first lady arriving in Bosnia. Wonder of wonders, it turns out that the speech detailing the race to the armored personell carriers under a hail of gunfire which is the stuff of first lady legend is not actually a very accurate telling of the event at all.
Clinton and her party were greeted on the tarmac by smiling U.S. and Bosnian officials. An eight-year-old Moslem girl, Emina Bicakcic, read a poem in English. An Associated Press photograph of the greeting ceremony, above, shows a smiling Clinton bending down to receive a kiss.

"There is peace now," Emina told Clinton, according to Pomfret's report in the Washington Post the following day, "because Mr. Clinton signed it. All this peace. I love it."
There is peace now, because Mr. Clinton signed it! What a beautiful poem... and how out of place as the pot shots from the snipers around the airfield kicked up the dirt and the mud all around the smiling dignitaries.

Senator Clinton has claimed that the reason she went to Bosnia in the first place is to carry on the good work of President Clinton, when it was too dangerous for the President to go himself. Thank goodness that Mrs. Clinton allowed herself to be targeted rather than the leader of the free world... except that is not quite the entire truth either. President Clinton visited the very same air base two months prior to the first lady.

Let me wrap this up with yet another observation on the state of this nomination race. I used to be a huge fan of the Clintons. Just search this blog and you will find many many instances in which I have supported both of them in some manner. But this kitchen sink strategy is doing permanent harm to the Clinton legacy in the Democratic party and I am a very small piece of evidence of that damage. If the Clinton campaign insists on further attacking the putative Democratic presidential nominee, I fear the damage done to the Clinton legacy in this party will be beyond recovery. The only option left for Clinton to win this nomination at this point (having superdelegates over rule the majority of the voters and the states in the national priamary) would result in riots at the Democratic convention, unless Barack Obama held back the mob in person. Is it really worth it for Clinton to try to get the nomination under such circumstances? Is it worth it for them to go all scorched earth and completely alienate the majority of the Democratic party, even if doing so would still mean it would be a miracle for her to be nominated?

If Senator Clinton thinks it is worth it under these circumstances to continue with her self destructive campaign then I think that serves as proof in it's own right that she is not showing the necessary good judgement to be the commander in chief.

The Clinton Democratic Incongruity

The campaign of Senator Clinton has her making the rounds in Michigan calling for all the votes in that states primary, as well as Florida, to be counted. Senator Clinton is on a real freedom and democracy kick, claiming that not counting all of the votes would be un-American, an insult to democracy and everything Democrats stand for, and appealing to Senator Obama to come to his senses and stand against the forces of evil by siding with the Clinton campaign.

If the reader gets the sense that I am hardly convinced by the Clinton rationales on the Florida and Michigan debacles, the reader is absolutely correct.

I do hope the Clinton campaign remembers their appeal to count all of the votes and their take on the nature of democracy and the American way when it comes time to count all of the votes in the entire nomination. The only hope the Clinton campaign has is that the party bigwigs and back room dealers will over turn the express will of the voters in ALL of the primaries in order for the super delegates to let her steal the nomination from Senator Obama.

This seems disingenuous at best, and frankly seems more than a little desperate. The Clinton campaign has this great "come to Jesus" epiphany about the worthiness of counting all the votes in two states which they once agreed would not count, but has staked their entire campaign on a strategy which will depend on Clinton being chosen as the nominee despite not getting the majority of the votes.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

McCain Continues Bush Practice Of Creating His Own Reality

The Washington Post's Fact Checker is busy correcting the ongoing "gaffe" by Senator John McCain in which he ties Iran to Al Qaeda in Iraq. I believe the newest permutation to this story demonstrates a disturbing tendency by the McCain campaign which echoes two unique traits by the Bush administration that proved in combination to have disastrous effects. Those traits are the insistence that the world recognize a reality which is wholly of their own creation and the inability to ever admit error.

The Fact Checker takes note of a "fact check sheet" distributed by the McCain campaign which attempts to provide proof that Iran is supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Fact Checker reports that the Senators top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, is mounting a spirited defense of McCain's "gaffe". Rather than admitting that the Senator misspoke or being a bit confused as he repeated the "gaffe" over the course of several days, Scheunemann has provided several references which, according to the McCain campaign, verify that McCain was correct all along.

First off, I've evidently adhered to the wrong definition of the term "gaffe" for nigh on half a century now. I always thought a gaffe was something which was a one time occurrence, immediately recognizable for being embarrassing and not liable to be repeated by the person who had made the gaffe. I mean, if a gaffe can be ongoing over an extended period of time could we just take it to some horrible extreme and declare that slavery was a gaffe? If that is the case I think the entire Bush administration could be labeled a gaffe. Just one huge, embarrassing, deadly, ugly, expensive gaffe... But I digress!

A cursory examination of the "evidence" (tonight is a big quote mark night here at The Workday Liberal) provided by the McCain campaign serves to demonstrate their willingness to twist the meaning of the reports they cite to suit their own purposes. Make no mistake about this, the purpose of the McCain campaign's fact check sheet is hardly to provide an accurate assessment of the situation to the American electorate. They cite a report from a think tank who is explicitly calling for war with Iran. They also reference a partisan tabloid. Their coup de grace is provided by lifting portions of a military briefing out of context. The briefing they take out of context actually proves that any contacts between Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq are entirely incidental. It would be like the McCain campaign trying to prove that Canada was responsible for 9/11, because a few of the hijackers crossed the U.S. Canadian border to get here.

I can not help but wonder if this is intended to be a clever ploy which sends the signal to the Republican base and big monied defense contractors that their man and his team are willing to make up facts, twist the intelligence, create their own realities and scare up false alarms in order to tweak the Iranians.

Is the nation really ready for another four years of that hairbrained type of leadership? Please please PLEASE let the answer to that rhetorical question be a resounding no...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Iraq Credulity Test

There is an awful lot of heat being generated around the intertubes regarding the Iraq war. I would encourage anyone browsing through the news to apply a very simple test when considering who should or should not be taken seriously while pontificating on the situation we face in Iraq today.

Simply consider the past track record of the person in question. Has that person generally made sense and had their suppositions on the war prove true over the course of time? It just makes sense to apply this very basic test to the war in Iraq, much the same as we would apply that standard to any other aspect of our daily lives. For all sorts of people, from the lowliest weather person to the great and vaunted phone psychic Miss Cleo, a repeated record of incorrect assumptions or illogical opinions would typically disqualify the guilty party from future consideration in a serious way on the issue in question.

Yet after five years straight of an absolutely disastrous record of policy decisions and starry eyed assessments of the war, the President and his enablers are still being given widespread credence in the current debate over Iraq. Not only are these given credence, but their assumptions are often forwarded by the media as unquestionably correct.

Thus it has come to pass that we are witness to the widely admitted failure of benchmark after benchmark set prior to the so called surge in Iraq to gauge it's success. Yet because the influx of American soldiers have temporarily improved security in Baghdad, the entire message trumpeted by the administration and their toadies, and propagated by the media, is about the unqualified success of the surge. Indeed it seems that the widespread perception is that people who discount the results of the surge simply because we took the administration at their word (ha!) when they announced the goals for the surge are being intransigent or defeatist. Wha?!

Thus it is that in recognition of the 5th year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the President holds forth on events as he sees them and his words are broadcast around the world as some sort of noteworthy pronouncement on the results of the Iraq war. At this stage of the game the President's statements on the situation in Iraq are noteworthy only for their invariable deviance from any semblance of reality. The President's determination that the war was worth it in hindsight really can not be given any more credence than the delusional ramblings of a well trained drunken parrot. It is hard to imagine any sane individual being granted the power to time travel from today to 5 1/2 years in the past and actually encouraging or in some other way allowing the President to make the same choice. Yet the President and his enablers still proclaim that they made the right decision and would do it again if given the choice. Not only do the make this absurd proclamation, but they are defiant in doing so.

The people who crow about the worthiness of the effort in Iraq are the very same crowd who trumpeted the certainty that Saddam possessed WMD and was working hand in hand with the very same terrorists who plotted 9/11. These are the people who proclaimed years ago that the insurgency was in it's last throes. They predicted the war would cost a mere pittance and saw to it that the man who predicted the war would cost 200 billion dollars was fired from the administration. They disbanded the Iraqi army and sent greenhorn young Republican idealists to form a neocon government from scratch which, predictably, resulted in disaster. The President was mystified by the revelation that there were two sects of Islam who would be set at each others throats in Iraq, proclaiming, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!” This dunderheaded outlook was echoed by John McCain this week as he repeatedly asserted that the Iranians were training Al Qaeda agents and sending them into Iraq.

It seems to me that anyone who can not be brought to admit the mistaken nature of the entire endeavor, given that the initial reasons for the invasion were proven wrong followed by 5 years of bloodletting and the burning of our national treasure, should be disqualified from serious consideration on the matter. They should be allowed to express themselves, but these folks have proven so consistently wrong for so long that their pronouncements should be greeted with widespread derision, and duly noted for express denunciation when the opinion they are promulgating is proven completely off base after the proof is in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What's That You Say? Someone Gave A Speech Today?

You've got to hand it to Senator Obama. If politics is hardball, Obama was given a high inside beanball with the Wright hubbub. Rather than ducking out of the way or dodging he appears to have swung and connected. Exactly where the ball winds up at this point is beyond me, but he's hit a deep drive that has the potential to leave the park... or simply be a very long out. I'm impressed with Obama for where he took his campaign and the nation with today's speech.

That being said, I have only seen about 1/3 of the speech, and I won't be able to catch the rest of it for several hours. So my impression thus far is mainly formed by the various reactions to the speech I'm reading around the intertubes.

When it comes to this type of event I don't like to only rely upon my favorite lefty sites to provide me with insight. By and large Huffpo, TPM, and Sullivan et al are very impressed with the speech. So I have taken the trouble to load up NRO's The Corner to get some perspective from the right side of the great political divide. I must say that the reaction to Obama's speech from the right is decidedly more muted than my favorite sites, but I am pleasantly surprised by some of the positive reactions from The Corner.

For example, here is Jonah Goldberg's first impression of the speech:
"It was a much better speech than I thought it would be. It had some lovely moments and he came across as a remarkably classy and decent guy. But I think there were some serious logical, philosophical, and political flaws to it."
Charles Murray gets a link from Sullivan by writing:
"I read the various posts here on "The Corner," mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama's speech. Then I figured I'd better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn't). I've just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I'm concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we're used to from our pols.... But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie."
This level of honest support for a Democratic speech by the regulars at The Corner is encouraging. To be sure there are more ambivalent or outright negative comments about the Obama speech than positive posts, so let me note one of the negative posts in particular. In the best spirit of partisanship which ruled the nation prior to today's Obama speech, let me present a bit of a rebuttal to a post by Kate O'Beirne titled "Common Pulpit Speech":
Obama says, "Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed." This a breathtaking attempt to pass off Wright's hateful rants by implying that they are little different than the "political views" of some priest with which a parishioner might disagree. Does he think plenty of ministers of every faith are capable of spewing Wright-like vitriol or, despite his repudiations, does he really view the comments as benign "political views" with which we're free to disagree.
I think this serves as an example of what we can expect as the standard line of attack by the right on Obama going forward... to wit Obama has not sufficiently thrown Wright off and then under the bus.

O'Beirne begins by indignantly proclaiming that Wright's offensive blather is not precisely what it really is by huffing about Obama's "breathtaking attempt to pass off Wright's hateful rants by implying that they are little different than the 'political views' of some priest with which a parishioner might disagree." All of the objectionable material I have seen by Wright may be precisely defined as radical political views with which a parishioner may disagree. I have very personal and real experience with just this type of political divide in my own family. To be sure, my in-laws and the extremely conservative members of my wife's church are not one hundredth as offensive in style as is Wright, but if I were to actually hold myself separate from people who did not hold my political take, I would be entirely shut out of my wife's side of the family. That would be my loss (and perhaps the in-law's gain actually*snark*). It is telling for me that a large swath of conservative fundamentalists have interwarped their spiritual lives with a right wing political outlook, and expect the rest of the flock to hold like views or be separated.

Barack Obama is the living embodiment of what he stands for. In calling for national unity and a voice for all perspectives he rejects the fundamental outlook held by O'Beirne. Rather than separate himself from that which he finds politically offensive Obama only rejects what offends him, but embraces what he finds to be good in Wright. Rejecting the offensive statements time and again in no uncertain terms is the most we can expect from Obama if he is to remain true to his own ideals.

If one is to believe that Obama secretly harbors the beliefs expressed by Wright it is incumbent upon his accusers to show us the proof. Is it to be found in his writings? In his speeches or how he has raised a family... or maybe his voting record? Show us the proof of the fiery, racially divisive, figurative bomb thrower which is supposed to scare us into voting for the other candidate. I contend there is no there there. There is only a man living the very ideals he calls upon the rest of us to follow.

I have no doubt that O'Beirne and a very large segment of the American populace would find the Sunday services at Trinity to be unbearable, if only because of the occasional radical political rant. That is fine for them, but it's not fair to expect Obama to take the approach which he expressly calls the nation to turn away from: the approach which has us grouped into like minded clusters of polarized voting blocs.

Man... all of that on the very first O'Beirne sentence and I feel like I'm just getting warmed up!

O'Beirne wraps up her take with the following sentiment, which I find a bit puzzling to be honest with you. "[D]oes he (Obama) really view the comments as benign "political views" with which we're free to disagree." I am left wondering exactly what else can the Wright rantings be? I suppose the qualification of Wright's political views as benign in that sentence may be intended to somehow define Obama as trying to lessen the truly damaging meaning of the statements. But Obama has made clear, repeatedly, that he rejects those statements. Nearly by definition we can determine that Obama did not find the sentiments to be benign else he would not have felt it necessary to condemn and renounce them.

The way O'Beirne uses the word benign in that sentence, though, leads me to conclude that she is wondering if Obama considers the statements as simple political speech, which of itself is a benign activity in American society even if the content of the speech is offensive. If that reading of the final O'Beirne sentence holds true, one must wonder what else the statements by Wright could be mistaken for than benign political views? Is it some sort of criminal speech? Maybe the right will reverse a long tradition and start calling for the punishment of offensive political expressions as hate speech. It seems to me that allowing for the sentiments of Wright to be heard, offensive as those notions are to most of the nation, defines the real meaning of the phrase "freedom of expression." What could possibly be more patriotic than affirming that fundamental principle which forms the veritable cornerstone upon which this nation was founded?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Right Mobilizes, But Not For McCain

Bill Kristol's hit piece on Obama in the NY Times ended up with him issuing a retraction, which embarrassment is what most of the lefty blogosphere chortled about today. It certainly is noteworthy anytime a right wing flack has to eat some crow, but I think Democrats are missing the forest for the trees with this article. The tree everyone is focusing on is how Kristol was willing to lift a report from a far right website without bothering to check that report's veracity, and then had to retract. But the forest is that Kristol's entire piece is a hit on Obama, and Kristol makes no bones about his wishing to see Hillary Clinton win the nomination.

Believe you me, when it comes to trees in this forest they are plentiful. Limbaugh implores his listeners to cross party lines to vote for Hillary and we see a drastic increase in the percentage of Republicans voting for a Democrat, with the vast majority of those new found Republican votes going to Clinton. One of the earliest manifestations of this crossover support for Clinton was Ann Coulter promising to support Clinton. These two examples are the best known, but there are many drudger erm... other, examples of the right wing attack dogs being loosed on Obama to the express or implied benefit of Senator Clinton (including the hit piece on Obama from Newsmax which fed Kristol his erroneous fact).

It should speak volumes to the Democratic party that our putative nominee is being savaged by the right, more often than not with the express intent of supporting Senator Clinton. Bill Kristol is the embodiment of the smarmy, unethical and intellectually bankrupt far right fetid mouthpiece. He ends the Obama hit column with the following paragraph:
With no particular dog in the Democratic fight, many conservatives have tended to think it would be good for the country if Obama were to win the Democratic nomination, freeing us from the dreary prospect of the return of the House of Clinton. Now I wonder. Might the country be better off with the cynicism of the Clintons than the conceit of Obama?
I for one am not interested in allowing Kristol, Limbaugh, Newsmax, Coulter, or any of the rest of that pack of right wing freaks to pick the Democratic nominee.

So let me focus on the Obama hit piece by Kristol, beyond the retraction which has the entire left chortling. His article is titled "Generation Obama". Kristol works himself into high dudgeon over how Obama's website has a section called Generation Obama which is geared to his youthful supporters. According to Kristol it is the height of arrogance and conceit for Obama to label an entire generation as his own.

Either Kristol has virtually no experience in campaigns in general, or his entire thesis is an unfair cheapshot at Senator Obama. Campaigns inevitably allow people who are interested in the campaign to join coalitions which are geared to an individual's interests. Why is it that Kristol can find himself so hot and bothered over Generation Obama, but not bother to load up Senator Clinton's site and link over to a section titled "Women For Hillary". Now if one were to read that title with just the wrong attitude one could leap to the conclusion that Senator Clinton was assuming that all women are for her. One would be completely off base with that claim, but it makes just as much sense as Kristol's attack on Obama.

But wait... it gets even better! Google up "women for mccain" and you will find that even John McCain is so conceited as to feature a segment on his official site which purports that the fairer sex are for him! I am aghast!! (not)

So Kristol's real problem here is that the Obama webmaster puts a catchy, gimicky title on their interest group sections. It's not Senator Obama's fault that we are left wondering what is meant by the Clinton team with the title her site uses for the same demographic: "Hillblazers". Senator Obama just has a catchier title for his youth group. Actually, on this one Senator McCain actually passes the Kristol smell test when it comes to the youth vote. I can't find any segment of his site which is dedicated to youth at all, beyond allowing the browser to sign up for the McCain Youth Coalition which doesn't seem to actually exist. I'm certainly not savvy when it comes to McCain's website, but he's not making it easy to find his youth coalition either.

At least we have Kristol admitting that he's coming to favor Senator Clinton for the Democratic nomination. The first seedling he planted in this particular forest didn't amount to much beyond embarrassing the author, but I'm certain he will contribute more to the cause of supporting Clinton by attacking Obama.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The W(r)ight Perspective

I make a point of staying up late enough to catch the first part of Morning Joe on MSNBC. This morning Joe spent a lot of time playing up the inflammatory rhetoric of Barack Obama's former preacher, Jeremiah Wright.

Let me preface the following with the admission that this is all generalities... and thus may not exactly fit each and every person reading this post to a tee. I do not intend to offend anyone, but this is a very touchy subject so I will probably offend every single reader anyway.

My sense while watching Reverend Wright preach was to be instinctively turned off and take offense at his rhetoric. As an Obama supporter my first reaction was a foreboding of things to come. But as time has passed I am starting to reach another impression of this entire affair. I object to Wright's rhetoric, but there is a wider context to this we need to consider.

I full well and truly believe Reverend Wright is out of line with the rhetoric I saw him using. But his take on society is comparable to the rhetoric of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson immediately after 9-11, blaming the attack on liberalism which I feel was out of line rhetoric as well. Wright blames American history and foreign policy, Falwell blames liberals. Is one take really more damaging than the other or is it just the style in which the opinion is delivered? Wright is impassioned, fiery and African American. Rightly or wrongly, that angry black man running off at the mouth is far more threatening for most of us than is the same type of sentiment made by a calm and smiling white man.

I recall a plethora of right wing spiritual leaders who preached that the catastrophe wrought on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina was the wrath of God validating their conservative take on social issues by destroying a decadent city. Reverend Wright gave his socially radical take on widespread destruction wrought on an American city in far more colorful and fiery terms. But why are his sentiments really more objectionable than the conservative preachers who claimed that God struck New Orleans with a hurricane and America on 9/11 out of political spite?

I consider the call of the Right Reverend (and right wing) Hagee, for unprovoked war to be waged upon Iran with the express intent of bringing about Armageddon and all the horrors of the apocalypse, to be more dangerous to the nation and the world than anything I've heard from Wright to this point. Hagee wants to bring death and destruction on a biblical scale (literally) to the world whereas Wright is seen expressing an impassioned, and radical, view of society and America's role in world history. Is the impassioned anti-American history lesson really more dangerous to this nation than the coldly reasoned call for America to trigger Armageddon, made by a preacher who has McCain's ear?

Yet I do not doubt that Obama's association with Wright will prove more damaging to his political aspirations than McCain's association with Fallwell, Robertson, Hagee or any of the other right wing preacher men McCain appeals to for help in winning the White House. In fact, McCain's embrace of the religious right, warts and all, will be a political plus for him. So here is where I go off half cocked in my own right: I believe the difference in the political ramifications of the preachers supporting McCain or Obama can be attributed to racial stereotypes. Yes... I did just go there. But what other reason is there for the fact that McCain considers the endorsements of the right wing preacher types to be a strength for his candidacy, but Obama is being damaged by past association with this Wright character?

When the nation heard Falwell or sees Robertson or Hagee make some outrageous and patently offensive comment we are watching a white preacher, normally with a soothing southern drawl and a smiling countenance. When we see Reverend Wright in a dither during one of his rants, we are witnessing an angry black man. Quite frankly angry black men like Wright scare the snot out of most of the nation, especially little old white ladies. Pleasant sounding white fellows who preach the same sort of nonsense from the right are much less traumatic for most of us.

Most Americans have been raised to give spiritual authorities and leaders inherent respect, and for most of us those leaders are cut from the same mold as Falwell, Robertson and Hagee. So part of this racial/spiritual dichotomy must be attributed to the life experience of each one of us. People like me and my wife... who are white and raised in fairly traditional Christian households are used to the typical white authority figure. My wife is Mormon so every few months I am privy to the regular meeting of Mormon elders known as general conference. I have determined that the talks given from the pulpit at the LDS general conference would be extremely effective sleep aids if they could somehow be distilled into pill form. Quite frankly it is impossible to imagine a liberal black firebrand preacher giving a sermon in that setting.

The same applies to congregations around this nation who would be thunderstruck at having one of the Mormon leaders come to their church to give the Sunday sermon. The different outlooks on social issues may very well present a barrier, but an even greater wall would be the jarring difference in the style of the preachers.

So when white Americans are exposed to a black firebrand espousing objectionable clap trap I don't find it surprising that they are more shocked than when some right wing preacher spouts off with something just as objectionable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bush's Clarion Call To Yellow Elephants

Check out this quote (hat tip Huffpo) by President Bush from a video conference he held with military and civilian officials in Afghanistan:
"I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger."
Oddly enough, when the time came for the gung ho patriotic democracy fighters of Bush's generation to answer the call for a romantic and exciting adventure, he somehow found a way to stay home. President Bush allowed some lucky draftee, who probably did not share Bush's sense of romance and adventure at spreading democracy, to take his place in the jungles of Vietnam. How tragic for the poor young man stuck in the air national guard defending Texas from the waves of Viet Cong which may have shown up at any time. I'm certain Bush was hoping and praying that the VC invasion would not hit Texas when he was AWOL or he would have been extremely sad for having missed that romantic adventure as well.

Operation Yellow Elephant should be able to use this quote to very good effect. What young, war loving, democracy spreading wing nut could possibly resist the clarion call to romantic combat given by their hero. Just think of the young Republicans of today in another 40 years... gazing with starry eyes over the battlefields of tomorrow and wishing like the dickens that they had joined the Army to fight in the Bush wars. President Bush is gently prodding these idealistic but reluctant keyboard freedom fighters to take advantage of the promise of their youth. Let these young Republicans replace the cheap suits and flag lapels with fatigues, lest they lose their chance at romance and adventure. The commander in chief beckons the flower of Republican youth to put down the attache case filled with the robotic talking points, and pick up a rifle while you still have a chance!

I'm quite certain that President Bush's sentiment in his old age will lead to wave upon wave of fighting age Republicans filling the ranks of our nation's military to capacity, lest they too find themselves considering what might have been. Just like we found WMD in Iraq, and the connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda have been well documented!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Image Of God, Hooded, Standing On A Box With Hands Attached To Wires...

President Bush addressed a group of Christian Broadcasters yesterday and defended his misbegotten war in Iraq on religious grounds. Bush told the group that his actions were based upon the belief that freedom is a right given by God and “every human being bears the image of our maker.”

I just think it is perverse to frame the events in Iraq in these terms. Think of the images of human suffering which have attended this horrible war, and then imagine that the sufferer being photographed or taped is the image of God in that same circumstance. That is supposed to be inspirational? Think about the images of God in Abu Ghraib... That is what God would look like with a dog snarling and barking inches from his face... this is what God would look like tied over a bed frame with womens panties over his head.

I am frankly offended when anyone brings God into this on one side or the other. The other side calls upon God to a greater degree than does Mr. Bush. They send their suicide bombers into the public square with promises of paradise. How many people have heard the very last thing in their lives be a scream of Allahu Akhbar immediately prior to the suicide bomber blowing them to smithereens. It is a dark and ugly road which the President trods when he as a man sets himself as the arbiter of what is or is not God's will in the life and death of hundreds of thousands of people who are created in God's image. He has no more claim to righteous understanding than do I, or any other human being walking this planet. The only difference is that when Bush goes off half cocked with God as his copilot, people die by the hundreds of thousands.

How is it that the war is now framed as a struggle between freedom or tyranny? I don't recall this rally cry for freedom being a part of the the gameplan which the administration used in taking this nation to war in 2002. Quite frankly, this nation never would have accepted a war in Iraq based upon a call for the freedom of Iraqis, yet we find ourselves 5 years on and trillions in the hole with no end in site. Bush playing up his international freedom agenda, after the initial logic for the war was proven wrong, is disingenuous at best. Yet what else should we expect from a president who has a congenital defect which makes him the ultimate anti-Midas... everything he touches turns into crap.

Brother Olbermann Redirects His Fire

Keith Olbermann is going to give one of his special comments tonight. This one is particularly notable because it will be the first time he has ever directed a comment against a Democrat. And this isn't just any Democrat either. Brother Olbermann is going turn his guns onto the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

I let this blog go dormant I haven't really expressed my views on the state of the Democratic nomination here at the Workday Liberal. I am supporting Barack Obama for the nomination. When I initially decided to back Barack it was with a feeling of mutual admiration for both him and Hillary. I still defended her against what I felt were unfair attacks, just as I did many times before the nomination process got underway. For me supporting Obama did not mean denouncing Clinton... and I was absolutely convinced that I could whole heartedly support either of them as the party candidate in November. But for me, these feelings of solidarity with the Clinton's are dissipating faster than a late morning fog in summertime Arizona.

If my read on this is correct, Brother Olbermann has gone through a similar transformation. He is a long time defender of both of the Clintons, but her campaign's conduct in pulling out all of the stops in order to win the nomination is rapidly costing her support among many, like Olbermann and myself, upon whom she could once count as staunch defenders.

It looks like Brother Olbermann's comment tonight will focus upon the recent kerfluffle wrought by Geraldine Ferraro. The Ferraro business is ugly and another mark against the Clinton campaign from my perspective but I am having a serious issue with the whole kitchen sink strategy in general.

It seems to me that the only way Clinton can win the nomination is by appealing to the superdelegates to overturn the results of the primary and caucus process. How they can do that and not lead to a decisive schism in the party is beyond my understanding. I know I will find it extremely difficult to support a candidate who steals the nomination by subverting the express will of the people via back room deals and other such untoward shenanigans. If I had been asked 6 months ago to imagine a scenario in which I was questioning the possibility of my supporting the Democratic nominee in the coming election I would have laughed at the notion. Yet here we are, and if Hillary is starting to lose people like me... stalwart proud Democrats who have spent years defending the Clintons and Democrats in general, that is a bad sign.

Furthermore, it appears for all the world that her campaign is taking the approach that if she can not benefit from the nomination that they will make sure that the evident winner will not benefit from it either. It is the political equivalent of the jilted lover proclaiming that if they can not have the love of their life, no one ever will. Keep in mind that Barack Obama is the front runner for the nomination and it will take a minor miracle for that to change at this point. Yet Hillary is out there talking up her ability to step into the role as commander in chief from day one, as is John McCain, but casting aspersions on the credentials of Obama. Has she started taking her counsel from Joe Lieberman? Is Zell Miller writing her speeches now?

So yes... the party is being wrenched asunder by a losing candidate who is convinced that she should have been crowned the nominee. The right wing psychos have come to realize that supporting Hillary serves their best interests. I hope and pray that before it's too late that regular rank and file Democrats will realize what is happening and turn away from the precipice which Clinton is driving the party toward. At this stage of the game the choice is coming down to the following options as far as I'm concerned. You can stand with Rush, Coulter and the rest of that crowd in supporting Clinton, or you can stand with the growing number of people who once stood with the Clintons but can no longer tolerate what is happening to our party.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not Much To Say Today

I blog from work, but I'm not at work today because of an eye sty. Rather than spread eye junk around the office I chose to take a day off.

There is one thing I can say about the news today... Elliot Spitzer needs to resign. He should have done it yesterday.

Unless my eye grows it's own hand or something weird like that I'll be back to work, blogging here at the Workday Liberal just like old times, tommorrow!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm Back!!

Well... the whole All Things Democrat blogging tryout went nowhere fast. We were sunk by an internal squabble over posts which attack Hillary Clinton. I am very tempted to post the G-Mail thread which led us to this pass. Mayhaps in another post...

I will re-commence posting my daily take on the political news here at The Workday Liberal starting tommorrow. I realize I've probably lost the few regulars I had before I let this blog go dormant but here's hoping I can get you back.

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